Australia kicked off day eight of the Commonwealth Games with 50 gold medals, a metaphorical bat raised to the pavilion in hopes of more to come. Instead, after such a dominant opening week, the Australian team stalled for the first time and failed to add to their golden total in Birmingham.
Host nation England promptly closed the gap on the medal board with a ton of gold to come in at 47, trailing just three with so many days to go. But the one-day drought didn’t mean the day was a complete disappointment for Australia.
Decathlete Cedric Dubler will forever be remembered for the outstanding sportsmanship and selflessness he displayed at the Tokyo Olympics last year, but for all the backslapping that followed, Dubler is a competitive beast and he wanted his own medal. Now he has bronze.
For the past two days, the Queenslander has taken center stage in the decathlon as he battled Grenadian Lindon Victor and fellow countryman Daniel Golubovic. After eight events, Dubler was in the lead. But defending Commonwealth Games champion Victor bounced back strongly in the javelin, his event of choice, to seize control. Towards the end, Golubovic also passed Dubler as he brilliantly claimed the 1500m to take the silver in what turned out to be a great event to watch.
Australia also delivered medal-winning performances at the Gymnastics and Aquatic Centers, while Jayden Lawrence claimed a bronze wrestle in the 86kg class. Despite competing with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his last two fights, the 27-year-old managed to win the sport’s first national medal since the 2010 Delhi Games. to fight the pain, he told the Seven Network; “Bloody oath.”
Diver Brittany O’Brien struggled to jump off the platform at her favorite 10m event a year ago when her coach suggested changing the focus. She moved up to the springboard and returns to Australia with a silver medal after an outstanding performance in the 1m event.
Sam Fricker teamed up with Shixin Li for a bronze medal on the 3m springboard, while Dom Bedggood and Cassiel Rousseau matched the feat on the synchronized 10m platform. Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva also claimed bronze in the rhythmic gymnastics all around event.
On track, Ella Connolly qualified for the women’s 200m final with a time of 23.41 seconds, while Michelle Jenneke completed an outstanding hurdle in the 100m. Connolly ran a brilliant semi-final when she finished second behind Namibian teenager Christine Mboma with an outstanding performance she described as “crazy”.
The final speaks like a match race between Mboma and Jamaican legend Elaine Thompson-Herah, who, after completing the feat in the Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Olympics, aims to complete a sprint double in the 100m and 200m of the Commonwealth Games. . But Connelly has vowed to do her very best as she fights for a medal. “I need to get a good start again and keep my form in the last 100 meters and just stay relaxed,” she said.
Jenneke ran a personal best of 12.63 seconds when she qualified for the 100m hurdles final, although it won’t count on her official record as it was wind assisted. The key to her return to form and to succeed this weekend is to stay happy and relaxed. “I’m not someone who likes to be super focused on what I’m doing. Even in the call room I chat with officials. That’s what I do,” she said.
But there was disappointing news for cyclist Caleb Ewan, who had to withdraw from Sunday’s road race after undergoing surgery to remove a plate from his collarbone. Ewan is devastated, as is Olympic silver medalist Nicola Olyslagers, who withdrew from the women’s high jump final on Saturday with a calf tear.
The Hockeyroos capped off an entertaining Friday as they defeated India in a penalty shootout, taking revenge for a heartbreaking loss in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics. But it was not without drama, with India late at 1-1 to force a penalty shootout. Australia were able to make their first three attempts in the shootout, while India failed to convert to advance to Sunday’s final against England. It could prove to be a decisive battle for the overall medal tally.